Million Mile Secrets reader Weltall emails:
I used British Airways miles to book an American Airlines flight from Miami to South America. If I need to cancel my trip, how much does it cost to get my miles back?
Weltall used British Airways Avios points to book an award flight on American Airlines to South America. That’s a great idea because there are no fuel surcharges. And because British Airways has a distance-based award chart, flights from Miami to South America cost relatively fewer miles!
Using British Airways Avois points to book American Airlines flights is easy. But what happens if Weltall needs to cancel his flight?
How Much Will It Cost to Cancel?
If Weltall calls British Airways to cancel his award flight, it will cost him $55 plus a $25 service fee. But if he cancels his flight online, he will pay $55 or forfeit the taxes & fees he paid when he booked, whichever is the lesser.
How to Cancel Your British Airways Award Flight Online
Here’s how Weltall can cancel his flight online:
Note: Some folks report not being able to cancel online. If this happens to Weltall, he will have to call British Airways at 800-452-1201 to cancel. When he cancels over the phone he will pay a $55 cancellation fee and may have a $25 service charge
Step 1 – Login & Click “Manage My Account”
To cancel online he can log into his account, select “Executive Club” from the menu at the top of the page, then click “Manage My Account”
Step 2 – Click “View All Bookings”
Select “View all Bookings” to see all of your award flights.
Step 3 – Find the Flight You Want to Cancel and Click “Manage My Booking”
Click “Manage My Booking next to the flight you want to cancel.
Step 4 – Begin the Cancellation Process & Give Consent
Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Cancel options for my booking.”
You will then see a consent page.
You will have to call British Airways at 800-452-1201, if you don’t want to cancel other flights on the same reservation.
Click continue, if you would still like to proceed.
Step 5 – Enter Your Credit Card Number
Confirm your identity by entering your credit card number.
Step 6 – Calculate Refund & Confirm Cancellation
British Airways will now tell you how much your refund will cost before you actually cancel.
Make sure your email address is correct. When you’re ready, confirm you want to cancel your flight.
Finally, you will receive a confirmation page. It may take a few minutes for the points to show up in your account.
Will Weltall Pay $55 or Forfeit the Taxes?
It depends on how much he paid for his award flight.
Should he Pay the $55?
For example, if Weltall is flying from Miami to Lima, Peru, on American Airlines it would cost him 25,000 British Airways points and ~$69 in taxes. In this case he will pay the $55 fee to get his 25,000 points back AND the $69 in taxes.
Or Pay the Taxes?
Booking domestic flights on American Airlines is a fantastic use of British Airways points because you only pay a small security fee.
So if Weltall also booked a separate flight from Washington, DC, to Miami on American Airlines, it would only cost him 15,000 British Airways Avios points and ~$11 in fees.
Because the $55 change fee is greater than the taxes, he’ll only have to forfiet the $11 he paid in taxes.
Paying ~$11 to cancel a flight is very cheap. That’s why many folks use British Airways Avios points for booking speculatively.
You can book a flight months in advance when there is likely to be more available seats. And even if you aren’t sure you can take the trip, it won’t cost you much to cancel the flight.
Other British Airways Cancellation Rules
Here are some other things Weltall should keep in mind before he cancels his award flight:
- You must cancel at least 24 hours before your flight to get a refund
- You can’t make changes to a round-trip award flight once you start the 1st segment of your trip
- If you booked two 1-way awards instead of a round-trip flight, you will have to pay the $55 cancellation fee for each segment to get a full refund.
How to Earn British Airways Points
British Airways Avios points are useful because you can book short distance flights for cheap, it doesn’t cost much to cancel, and it’s easy to earn a ton of points.
You can earn 50,000 British Airways points by signing-up for the Chase British Airways card and completing $3,000 in spending within 3 months. However, the $95 annual fee is NOT waived the first year.
Not only that, but you can also transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card AND American Express Membership Rewards cards like the AMEX Premier Rewards Gold card.
Canceling your British Airways award flight over the phone will cost $75 ($55 change fee + $25 service fee).
But the cheap way to cancel your flight is online because you won’t have to pay the $25 service fee. And you can pay the lesser value of either forfeiting any taxes and fees you paid for your ticket (if you cancel online) or pay the $55 cancellation fee.
For a short-haul award flight, you will likely forfeit the small amount of fees you paid for your ticket. However, on longer fights where the taxes and fees for the tickets are high, it is worth paying the $55 cancellation fee to get a full refund.